By the time October comes around, Manitoba will have the lowest minimum wage in the country.
Manitoba's minimum wage employees currently earn $11.95 and that will change to $12.35 this fall. Saskatchewan is currently $11.81 and is planning on the wage being $13.00 in October.
Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart weighs in.
"A number of years ago, the province decided to index minimum wage with the cost of living," says Wishart. "We've been following that model now since about, I guess, 2016. And of course, it does tend to be a year behind. We're looking this fall at an increase of about $0.40 based on the current numbers for cost of living increase and, of course, we all know inflation and the cost of living is rising pretty fast right now."
He explains if that is projected down the road for another year, it's going to be substantially higher.
"Again, we have taken steps to where people that are working for the province, that might be getting minimum wage such as the early childhood educators and some of the service providers in the mental health field, we've raised those salaries in the budget 2022 and they're substantially higher now, too" says Wishart. "But yeah, it's something that we're going to have to watch very, very carefully moving forward."
Wishart notes Saskatchewan and many of the other provinces "lump-jump" their minimum wage when they feel it's appropriate to do so.
"Given all of the concerns and the job market fall in COVID, it's certainly something we're going to have to look at," adds Wishart. "It'll be a 40 cent increase on October the first. That's already been determined. The next year is the one with the higher inflation rate numbers in it. That year is not complete yet. We don't know what it will be, but it does look like it'll be much higher."